A Profound Invitation

I attended a seminar last night in which the prose poem, “The Invitation,” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, was read aloud. It’s a passionate and powerful piece of writing that was first penned some 10+ years ago, having been published in book form in the spring of 1999. I would later receive a copy from a dear friend of mine in the winter of 2000, a gift for which I was, and still am, exceedingly grateful.

In my listening of this poem last night, I was reminded of the importance of sharing the things we find useful and valuable with others, the things we feel sure will touch, move, and inspire them. The Invitation is, indeed, one of those things.

I’m compelled not only by the meaning of this work, but also by the inspiration for it. Not one for socializing, Ms. Dreamer made it her goal at a party one night to be outgoing and friendly. She returned home frustrated and dissatisfied with the superficial level of social interaction she experienced that evening.

What follows below are the words she wrote when she returned home from that party. (Pun intended), I invite you to read it, to be with it, to live in the spirit of it –- and to share it with the people in your life.

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

(copyright © 1999 by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.)